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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU Honors Agricultural Leaders, Faculty and Staff

LAS CRUCES - Chile entrepreneur Lou Biad and Union County businessman Gene Atchley were honored for their outstanding leadership and contributions to New Mexico's agriculture industry during a recent awards ceremony at New Mexico State University's College of Agriculture and Home Economics.


Jerry Schickedanz, the college's dean and chief administrative officer, presented the awards to supporters, faculty and staff.

Chile industry businessman Lou Biad was awarded the New Mexico Outstanding Leadership Award. Biad is the president of Las Cruces-based Biad Chili, which operates dehydrator plants in New Mexico and Arizona.

Rich Phillips, head of NMSU's Chile Task Force, says Biad has worked tirelessly to strengthen the chile industry. Biad has been instrumental in obtaining legislative support for the college, as well as leading the formation of the New Mexico Chile Commodity Commission. Rich says Biad is a job generator who has given generously of his time, talent and resources to improve the industry.

Over the years, Biad has developed a worldwide market for dried chile powders, which are used in consumer products from lipstick to bologna. A little more than 10 years ago, Biad invested in a state-of-the-art oleoresin extraction plant to locally produce pure red color from chile.

Paul Bosland, director of NMSU's Chile Pepper Institute, says Biad was a farsighted co-founder of his institute, and has been a leader in pressing for improved mechanical harvesting technology.

Biad's impact extends beyond peppers. He's the co-founder of Jardin de los Niņos, which provides support for poor and homeless children. He's a longtime leader in his church, having served on the Catholic School Board for almost a decade.

Atchley, owner and manager of Double A Feeders, a 27,000-head feedlot in Union County, was presented the Philip J. Leyendecker Agriculturist of Distinction Award. The Leyendecker Award is named for Philip Leyendecker, a leader and former dean who invested more than 30 years in improving NMSU and New Mexico agriculture.

Atchley serves on the advisory committee for the Clayton Livestock Research Center, assists with Union County Extension programs and provides an annual $1,000 scholarship for a Clayton High School senior.

Atchley has made Double A Feeders and his staff available for NMSU's Ranch-to-Rail program. He's helped many young people with their 4-H projects and supported the Union County Fair's Junior Livestock Sale.

Atchley has been involved with the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association for more than 40 years, and was honored in 1986 as the New Mexico CowBelles Father of the Year. He's held leadership roles with the New Mexico Beef Council, which honored Atchley and his wife, Verleen, with their 2002 Beef Backer award.

Atchley served as a school board member and adviser, and helped establish a rural telephone service.

Also honored was Dinus M. Briggs, who received the Fabian Garcia Founders' Award of Excellence.

Briggs retired from NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics in 2002 after many years of service. His major fields of interest were poultry breeding and immunogenetics.

Briggs was a professor of animal science and administrative specialist for the Agricultural Experiment Station, a position he continues on a part-time basis.

Members of the college's faculty and staff honored during the awards program were William Lindemann, a professor in the agronomy and horticulture department, with the Distinguished Teaching Award; and Mary O'Connell, a professor in the agronomy and horticulture department, as the Teaching Award of Merit recipient from the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.

Milton Thomas, associate professor in Animal and Range Sciences, received the Distinguished Research Award. Woods Houghton, Acting County Program Director,

County Extension Agent-Agriculture in Eddy County, was given the Distinguished Extension Award; and the Distinguished Service Award went to Gary Lawrence, farm manager at the Leyendecker and Fabian Garcia Research Centers.

Bea Garrett, executive secretary in the Extension director's office, received the Distinguished Classified Staff Award.